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ASU Hockey: Sun Devils looking to bounce back from loss

ASU dropped its second game of the season over the weekend, and looks to atone for that starting Thursday.

Courtney Pedroza/House of Sparky

Arizona State lost only two of its 40 games in 2013-14. In its 18th game of the 2014-15 season, it lost its second game.

If the team was going to lose, it was going to be last weekend. The Sun Devils flew to the East Coast for three games in three nights against Rutgers and No. 6 Stony Brook. It concluded a stretch of six games in 10 days for the Sun Devils.

Not to mention how hurt the team was.

"We went out with less healthy bodies than I've ever had," Powers said.

Among players who did not make the trip include Ryan Ostertag and Patrick Yudez, who have both missed two months, Faiz Khan who is ineligible for the entire first semester, as well as Chris Burkemper, Jared Morris, Alex Temby and Gianni Mangone.

Temby and Mangone are of concern to the Sun Devils, and both are expected to miss the rest of the semester with lower body injuries. Mangone required surgery on his upper leg.

Arizona State managed to win Friday's game against Rutgers and Saturday against Stony Brook, and went up 3-0 Sunday. Then the team ran out of gas. Stony Brook scored on a penalty shot in the last minute of the first period to change the momentum of the game. Stony Brook won 6-3. The team was tired, but Stony Brook was ranked No. 6 for a reason.

"It was one of those games where it all started compiling and we didn't have energy to offset it," Powers said. "They're the best team we've played, I really believe that."

Now the depleted Sun Devils have to turn right back around. They didn't return home until late Monday, then had an optional skate Tuesday. After practice Wednesday, they welcome No. 12 Minot State to two for a two-game set Thursday and Friday.

Because of the shortened roster - particularly Ostertag and Yudez, who were expected to be major contributors - other players have needed to step up. At the beginning of the season, Powers called senior Liam Norris the best center in the league, and he has lived up to the billing.

Norris leads the team with 20 assists, six more than the next-best distributor. Coupled with his seven goals, Norris leads the team with points.

Ryan Belonger managed to start the season under the radar, deferring to the gaudy point totals but up by Ostertag and Tommy Cooney. No more. Belonger's 12 goals are tops on the team, and his 14 assists and 26 points are second. He leads the team with six power-play goals, is tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals and his two penalty minutes this year are tied for the least among the usual players.

Norris, Belonger and the Sun Devils play Thursday night at 8:15 p.m. at Oceanside Ice Arena, then agains Friday at 7:30 p.m.